DashBoard, Nov. 7, 2018

The meeting rooms and hallways of the Amway Grand Plaza Hotel in Grand Rapids were constantly abuzz with conversation this past weekend as more than 500 participants took part in the 2018 MASB Annual Leadership Conference. Daytime programming on Friday was filled to capacity as school board members from around the state focused on ‘Building a Better Michigan.’

In the most recent MI SoundBoard podcast, Executive Director Don Wotruba sat down with the Executive Directors of the Michigan Association of Secondary School Principals (Wendy Zdeb), Michigan Association of Superintendents & Administrators (Chris Wigent) and Michigan School Business Officials (David Martell) to talk about the state of education in Michigan.

It was another big turnout for MASB’s Delegate Assembly held Thursday, Nov. 1, before MASB’s Annual Leadership Conference at the Amway Grand Plaza Hotel. Voting delegates from more than 145 districts in 53 counties attended along with many other nonvoting members. This year had more counties represented than in the past few years.

As the dust settles this morning, one thing is clear—Michigan will have a lot more women in statewide-elected offices. Democrat Gretchen Whitmer beat Republican Bill Schuette to be Michigan’s next Governor; Jocelyn Benson will be the next Secretary of State; and Dana Nessel will be the next Attorney General. Two women, Judy Pritchett and Tiffany Tilley, were elected to the State Board of Education; both are Democrats breaking the party split on the board. It will now be a 6-2 Democrat majority. Megan Cavanagh beat incumbent Supreme Court Justice Kurtis Wilder, adding another woman to the Supreme Court. Justice Elizabeth Clement retained her seat.

DashBoard, Nov. 14, 2018

Here’s possibly a new acronym to add to your education vocabulary library—OER. Open Educational Resources are “teaching, learning and research resources that reside in the public domain or have been released under an intellectual property license that permits their free use and repurposing by others.” This summer, the Michigan Department of Education launched an online depository of these resources as #GoOpen Michigan. The department has partnered with several education organizations and a couple of ambassador local districts to build its library for use by educators and students around the state.

Now: Get the word out! If the school district knows that a seat will become vacant on Jan. 1 because no one ran in the last election to fill the seat, it may start to advertise and communicate with the community about the open position. The board may collect and review applications of those interested in the position.

2.27 billion.

1 billion.

336 million.

These numbers represent where we stand now in the digital economy. They represent active users worldwide on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, respectively. These numbers represent people who are actively logging in to share a video or moment of their lives with digital communities.

In 2015, Volkswagen admitted that it had installed emissions control defeat devises to cheat emissions tests and deceive federal and state regulators. Due to VW’s malfeasance, a $2.8 billion Environmental Mitigation Trust was established. Michigan received $64.8 million of the $2.8 billion Volkswagen Settlement.

DashBoard, Nov. 21, 2018

The 2018-2019 school year brought with it new expectations with regard to performance evaluation—some of which are required by law and some are recommendations from MASB to help school boards fulfill their governance duties. The Revised School Code requires that all individuals working in a school district who are regularly involved in instruction be evaluated annually—this includes the superintendent unless he/she is not regularly involved in instruction. School board members, board presidents in particular, should familiarize themselves with these expectations and contact MASB for questions or clarifications.

The House and Senate are expected to meet for about 12 days starting next week to wrap up the 2017-2018 legislative session. There are, of course, many rumors of what could come up in lame duck, but recently, Rep. Tim Kelly (R-Saginaw) sent a letter to his colleagues urging action on three specific topics, all education-related.

In the most recent MI SoundBoard podcast, Executive Director Don Wotruba sat down with Nell K. Duke, Ed.D., Professor of Literacy, Language and Culture in the Department of Education at the University of Michigan, and one of the keynote speakers at the 2018 MASB Annual Leadership Conference earlier this month.

Smart boards, tablets, netbooks, WiFi, MiFi, 1:1, internet accessibility—the landscape of education tools has vastly evolved since the days of chalkboards, overhead projectors, No. 2 pencils and Trapper Keepers. Student assignments can now be completed and submitted by midnight on a deadline day through online systems instead of turning in a hard copy during class time. This evolving environment typically means students need internet accessibility outside of the standard school day, so what are districts doing to address instances where this may be a challenge?

DashBoard, Nov. 28, 2018

The American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan and a coalition of public education leaders and parent groups filed an appeal yesterday asking the Michigan Supreme Court to rule that it is unconstitutional for the state to use public tax dollars to fund private schools.

Just when you thought elections were over, the nomination process for the seven open seats on the MASB Board of Directors is now underway. This is a great opportunity to take your board service to the next stage by serving at the state level.

Earlier this month, the U.S. Department of Education Office of Civil Rights unveiled a revised proposal for rules governing sexual harassment matters under Title IX. In what it views as a break from past precedent, which generally involved the issuance of nonbinding guidance, OCR now intends to vet its proposed rules via a public notice-and-comment period with the hope of providing a fairer process and greater clarity. The Department’s single-page summary of the revised regulations can be found here.